RAF LAKENHEATH, England — A teacher intercepting a note passed from one student to another in class has led to the conviction of an Air Force policeman on charges he committed indecent acts with his minor daughter.

The airman, a technical sergeant with the 48th Security Forces Squadron at RAF Lakenheath, was sentenced to four years’ confinement, demoted to the rank of airman basic and given a dishonorable discharge.

His six-day court-martial was held recently at Barksdale Air Force Base, La., where the girl lives with her mother and stepfather, who also is in the Air Force.

The defendant, 31, who entered innocent pleas, was acquitted on a charge of rape. Stars and Stripes is not naming the the technical sergeant to protect the identity of the victim, who is still a minor. The girl turned 12 during the trial.

The acts took place from May 1999 until June 2003 during the father’s parental visits in the United States, according to the lead prosecutor in the case, Capt. Josh Burgess.

However, there is evidence some acts may have occurred before that time frame, Burgess said.

The trial was held in Louisiana to limit the stress on the girl, who had just begun the school year when the trial started. Also, Burgess said, the Air Force does not have subpoena power over witnesses in the United States for cases overseas.

Burgess, chief of administrative and operations law at RAF Lakenheath, called the acts particularly “predatory and opportunistic.”

“She testified that he said she could tell [about the acts] if she wanted to, but he would get in a lot of trouble, and she would probably never see him again,” Burgess said.

The crime came to light when a friend, whom the victim had told of her father’s behavior, passed the girl a note during school in January.

A teacher intercepted the note, which made a reference to the acts.

The teacher sent the girl to a counselor, Burgess said, and the 48th Fighter Wing was eventually contacted.

Burgess described the victim as bright and courageous throughout the whole ordeal.

She testified via remote live video hook-up, which prevented her from having to face her father.

Although the case was largely the girl’s word against that of her father, “the jury found her a credible witness,” Burgess said.

Burgess said the panel of three officers and three enlisted members deliberated for more than six hours before reaching the verdict.

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